My love-hate relationship with university has often caused me to question whether or not I should be here.
Love it or hate it, I think all can agree that one major benefit of the university experience is the number of life lessons you learn and how quickly it can boost your maturity (if you let it). But in the process of learning these great lessons, there will be a lot of tests, a lot of stress and absolutely no rest. I’m a strong believer that every experience is a lesson and therefore never a ’waste of time’. But five, ten, fifty years down the line, how much of it really matters?
In order to answer these questions, I have teamed up with the beautiful Dafra of DafraStar to discuss the importance of the issues that so many students face!
Nobody willingly commits to decades of debt with the goal of attaining a ‘mediocre’ grade – or worse: failure.
Nobody wants to turn up to an interview (if they even manage to get one) full of self-doubt because their grades don’t reflect their full potential.
Nobody wants to invest their blood, sweat and tears only to be deemed a disappointment.
Yet this is how many of us feel.
Our passion, understanding and ability can be measured in more ways than an exam or 10,000-word essay- but university doesn’t always take this into account. We attend lectures (the most ineffective method of teaching) only to find that it’s essential to be self-taught.
Call me lazy, but it’s a lot of work for something that might matter in the future. We may have learnt how to reference 50-year old scientific papers, compute large calculations and memorise formulas, but in the real world, how important is it all?
Unfortunately (or fortunately for some), not that much.
I’m often forced to remind myself that (excessively) over what has temporary importance.
I know, I know, I know, this happens to everyone in life and isn’t exclusive to university students. But when you sign up with the intention of getting a job in the end (as most do), the pressure is constantly on you to deliver.
Surrounded by people with 5 internships under their belt, a flourishing side hustle and top grades, it’s very easy to feel under-qualified or undeserving.
Whether you feel confused about your career prospects or are struggling to find work experience, career-related blues will hit you at some point during your academic career. As I mentioned in ‘Education Does Not Equal Success’, a degree alone is no longer the golden ticket it once was. So here we are again, asking what exactly the point is?
There are so many other valuable and transferable skills that university life can teach us. I cannot promise that you will find your calling in life, but you will be able to get by. I shared a year ago in my post Pursuing Purpose that we need to take life one step at a time. Doing the little things will eventually help us see the bigger picture. View this season as a big-little thing and stop viewing it as your ticket to your dream job.
Long before university, I was forced to accept that life is not an American high-school TV drama- not everybody will make lifelong friends. But this didn’t take the pressure of feeling isolated and lonely.
As a social being, I wondered how long the difficulty to interact with other social beings would last; especially once I am no longer in an environment that forces me to socialise the way school/university does.
I still don’t have the answers. It doesn’t help that university forces me to be surrounded by people and their friendship groups/cliques/societies all the time! But it has taught me a lot about people: how I interact with them and what behaviours I feel would make someone (myself included) a bad friend. We can’t be so desperate for companionship that we tolerate nonsense- at any stage of our lives!
With regards to romantic relationships, if you’ve read my post Single… and so? then you’ll already know that this isn’t a personal struggle of mine, but definitely one I have witnessed way too often amongst my peers. Be it pressure from your family or friends*, so many are worried that if they aren’t boo’d up by the time they graduate, it will never happen.
*NEWSFLASH: for some people, peer pressure doesn’t stop after secondary school
I hate to seem overly logical, but if this is you, please ask yourself how many people you know that found their husband/wife at university.
The truth is that whether you’re 18 or 25, you are still learning a lot about who you are and how the world works. Everyone else is doing the same. Don’t be disappointed if your WCW/MCM isn’t ready for a serious relationship right now. Your time will come.
Believe it or not, I have come across people at university who make this a priority. #CantRelate
I can understand why, to an extent… We’re all social beings that crave social acceptance and in this social media age, no-one wants to be left behind. This leads to people putting up false pretences in order to be accepted, being misled and struggling to find themselves. Trying to fit into a community/society in a university environment can lead to a lot of feelings of insecurity. Despite how small university is in a relative sense, once inside this bubble it can feel like a massive place. It can be daunting being that girl that doesn’t fit in anywhere. This I can relate to.
It forces thoughts regarding the real world and how easily members of society form social groups and join cliques. If university is a taste of adult life, then how important will it be to fit in?
I’m hoping not too much. As much as we may try, we cannot run away from who we really are. We will always bump into people and hopefully, find people we can truly connect to. But in order to truly connect, it’s important not to be anything less than yourself.
“Be yourself. You’ll sleep better” – Gucci Mane
*Deep sigh* Yes guys, the big one…
Mental Health at university is a crazy thing. Everyone knows about it (whether or not they are able to recognise issues within themselves), yet people are so reluctant to do anything about it. Myself included.
The problem (for me at least) is that we’ve accepted it as the norm. My issues aren’t worth drawing attention to because they aren’t big enough. I wouldn’t describe my case as ‘extreme’ or ‘high risk’ which means I’m just like every other student. Stress is hard to deal with, but it’s just part of the process, right?
Our educational system is flawed. The attention that mental health awareness has received as of late is enough to highlight that we’re doing something wrong. Everything I have listed above is a major contributing factor. Between balancing coursework deadlines, job applications, this blog and any other hobbies that require my attention, I never expected to be anything other than stressed out. I wrote all about what I had anticipated in my post Returning to University.
But Mental Health isn’t something you wait to deal with after graduation. Life will come at you fast once you leave the bubble. It’s better to be prepared than caught off guard. It’s also important to differentiate between a serious mental issue and simply being stressed out by your workload… Neither is of low importance, but knowing the difference will help you deal with the root issue.
University isn’t forever… thank God!
I know there are many other factors that cause a large number of us to hate our university experience. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget Student Loans, but I already addressed this: Debt & Sugar Daddies? After speaking to a few people and taking the time to think about my current situation, these five topics are what stood out to me the most.
Be sure to have a read of Dafra’s answers to these questions here and let me know what your university struggles are in the comments! Hopefully, we can share tips with each other and continue the discussion!
I also just want to take the time to once again say a massive thank you to you guys! This is my first collaboration and I’m so excited that somebody wanted to write a few words with lil ol’ me! Couldn’t have done it without your support!
As a result of university, I’ll be taking a very short break from blogging. Sign up to the Newsletter to stay updated over the next few weeks!
Finally, as my friend of mine always says, “I cannot come and kill myself because of uni!” – stay stress-free guys!
All the best,Tisha x